After Jeffrey Dahmer’s mother learned her son confessed to having raped and mutilated several men, she said, “Deep down, my son is a good person.” I won’t call her a liar, but I will ask, how deep do we have to dig? And at what depth can we say we’ve dug too far to find the “good?”
I like discussing that “quote.” It represents how distorted we can become. I’ve referenced her quote often. If someone says, “Ronald is fun” (when he’s a real asshole), or “Jenni’s not a slut” (when she just got trained by three dudes the previous weekend), I’ll agree by saying, “According to Miss Dahmer’s logic, you’re right, Ronald is fun to be around and Jenni is locked at the knees.”
Now I’m only ninety nine point two percent positive that Jeff’s mom said that, but I’ve used the line so often I’ll give myself the benefit of the doubt and say she did. Either way, it’s an entertaining way to highlight the length at which we will go to affirm our beliefs.
Last night, some kids were acting wild on the block next to mine. They hooted like monkeys and kicked their lockers well past lights out. I’m sure they got ticketed by the CO’s. I’m equally sure they don’t care. They kept everyone awake, and after fifteen minutes of crazy-loud noise, I was back rooting for the guards to euthanize.
But I know myself. I’m a softy at heart. Miss Dahmer might say I’m a literal angel. I like to surprise girls I date with packets to chic salons, scented bubble baths with candles (for them alone). I leave notes in their shoes and taped to their car keys to tell them what I find unique about them.
I can only dislike people at arm’s length. Once we meet, my harsh judgements starts to dissolve. I begin to see the good in them, and genuinely appreciate their company.
In prison, this ability to bond may be rare, for at the thirty minute mark of the jungle noises, a man screamed for them to shut the begeezers up. They laughed louder and yelled back. Guy reiterated in a more intense tone that another word and he’d be mean to them at the next opportunity. Well, words to that effect. The young kids told him to F-off and kept it up for another hour.
This morning, as I exited the chow hall, a crowd was gathered around a ruckus.
A guard sprinted past me and into the crowd. Other officers joined him from all directions. Knowing it’s best not to get involved, even safer not to glance, I continued to my unit.
As I ascended the stairs to my cell, I spotted the guards escorting a man. He was handcuffed and in his early forties. Blood covered his bare chest, but he seemed content, uninjured. I heard from others that two younger guys got pretty thrashed, possibly stabbed. I can only assume that this is the guy from last night–the one who told the kids his plans, and then went to sleep.
Prison is a series of countdowns. A lesson on how to value time.
We countdown minutes until the hour, hours until a meal or phone call, days until a visit or store, months until a special meal or holiday, and years until we get the chance to sell ourselves to the parole board.
For the above gentleman, it was hours until he attacked two young men whom he felt needed to be taught a lesson in respect.
Everything in here equates to time, to how much needs to pass until the next step, which will bring us closer to holding those we love.
I’ll leave you with this: I think I’m a good person. Perhaps that is the point of this blog – to prove an oxymoron; to define a paradox. I’ll be honest in the writing and you’ll decide because I can’t judge myself. I lack perspective. I live solely in my mind. Thank you for dipping into it with me each day.